Expanding The Family Circle
EFC Trainers Manual
This manual provides helpful information for presenters of Expanding the Family Circle Curriculum. It offers information for pre-training preparation, guidelines for presenting the material, and a reading list. The training Power Point Presentation is also included.
Prior to the training
To be prepared to teach the Expanding the Family Circle curriculum, trainers need to have a good understanding of systems theory, family systems theory, and family centered casework practice. These theories and concepts provide the foundation of the framework for practice and build on the CORE training that each child welfare caseworker is required to complete in New York State. It is easier to "sell" the Expanding the Family Circle concepts when the trainer has a thorough understanding of the principles of family centered casework practice, because she can present concepts familiar to the caseworker and then expand on those concepts to teach the framework for practice.
The trainer must not only understand the concepts of cultural competence, but also be engaged in his or her own process toward cultural competency. Ideally trainers will be in the later stages of Bennett’s model of cultural competency development so he or she can model adaptive or integrative behavior. It is recommended that when there is more than one trainer, they are diverse in race, gender, or another characteristic so participants have an opportunity to witness culturally competent interaction such as mutual respect, cooperation and problem solving between diverse individuals.
Trainers need to understand the "adult learner" and adult learning theory. Training adult professionals differs from classroom teaching in that adults learn best when they view the material as being relevant to their position of employment therefore trainers must relate material in the curriculum to child welfare casework practice. Trainers who understand family-centered casework practices and who know the job expectations for child welfare workers are better prepared to draw the necessary connections between the two. For example they are able to offer examples and discuss with participants how training concepts relate to casework practice with families.
Each module presents domestic violence related issues; as such trainers need to understand domestic violence issues at each level of the eco-system. Child welfare and domestic violence cases overlap in etiology and risk factors such as low family income and impoverished neighborhoods. However the development of trust and cooperative working relationships between professionals who serve children and those who serve victims of domestic violence are quite recent in many service settings. A thorough understanding of the history and recent progress between the two groups in the training location can prepare trainers to handle situations where they are confronted with stereotypes and negative attitudes.
Power Point Presentation | Trainer Reading List
Module 1: "TIPS"
- Trainers prepare the "story" of your name prior to introduction activity; one trainer may focus on her first name, and the other trainer on his last name to model use of either name.
- Participants may be reluctant to stand during the story of their name, but presenters should encourage standing because it helps others to see and hear the speaker and facilitates the trust building process.
- Have each participant complete a name placard with the name he or she would like to be called and then place the placard on the table in front of him/her so the trainer can see it. Use the participant’s name when asking or answering questions to facilitate discussion.
- When trainers have child welfare casework experience or a working knowledge of ASFA, ICWA and other federal, state and local child welfare casework requirements it increases their credibility with child welfare workers.
- Prior to the Bennett Model Activity place the posters with the name of the developmental stage high enough for everyone to see and allow adequate space between each stage so it is clear which stage the participant is indicating by where he/she is standing.
Module 2: "TIPS"
- Prior to presenting the "Framework for Practice" discussion, assess the participants’ knowledge of the components (i.e. systems theory, family-centered casework practice, etc.). If the group does not have a good understanding of the basic concepts, it is worthwhile to present a "mini-lecture" with basic information before presenting the framework. When participants have a good understanding of the concepts the presenter may want to modify the presentation to focus on new information so it does not feel like a review of what they already know.
- Trainers will want to know prior to the training the participants’ experience with Family Group Conferencing (FGC). In places where participants are already involved in FGC, trainers can focus discussion on the comparison between the local model of FGC and those presented in the webcasts. Have participants identify what is working well, what needs improvement, and possible solutions to problems. In mixed groups involve those with FGC experience as "experts" by having them share their knowledge with the others.
- When participants indicate resistance to FGC by presenting multiple barriers (i.e. time restraints, financial restraints, lack of administrative support, lack of skills, etc.), it is worthwhile to discuss the barriers and potential solutions to the problems cited. Brainstorm ways to address barriers and possible adaptations of the principles of FGC, listing solutions on a flip-chart to reduce resistance and keep participants engaged in the process. It is important to provide resource information such as the NYS OCFS FGC consultant for that county, other resources in the state, training that is being offered and the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice.
Module 3: "TIPS"
- Prior to the training trainers will want to order "ICWA Desk Guides," and preview the DVD "What Caseworkers Need to Know about ICWA." Both are available from NYS OCFS Office of Native American Issues (See Related Links). For trainings held outside of New York State, please contact state-specific resources and NICWA (See Related Links). Trainers should be prepared to respond to questions and comments based on racial stereotypes of Native Americans.
- The yarn activity is a good way to get participants up and moving around; try to involve as many participants as possible. If the weather is nice, the activity can be done outside or in any large area. When conducting the string activity in the training room, try to move desks or tables aside to allow room to form the circle. Remind the participants that they will be using the Fuller Family again in Module 6. If time permits have the participants read the scenario from their workbook prior to the activity.
Module 4: "TIPS"
- Participants should have developed some sense of group unity and trust by Module 4. If this is not the case, it is important that the trainers spend time assessing outstanding or covert issues and find ways to make those issues overt so they can be processed and defused in a safe environment. Presenters can use the "isms" discussion to point out that each person is affected by bigotry, bias and oppression whether or not they are the target of the abuse. Presenters may keep the "Agreements" from Module 1 posted for quick reference.
- Using the "Racism in Retail" video to stimulate discussion, presenters should allow each person to talk about their feelings around being a target or a witness to oppression or discrimination, using "I feel" statements. Ask participants what they would do in the situation. Be sure to remind participants the purpose is not to "blame" any one person or group, but to facilitate understanding and promote communication. Acknowledge that some groups have enjoyed privilege even though they did not ask for it or earn it. Trainers will want to give white participants permission to talk about guilt, shame, or defensive feelings that arise around the topic of racism and privilege. Remind participants that this generation did not create racism, but each one of us is affected by it. Allow those who have been victimized by racism or oppression to honestly express their anger, hurt or other feelings in a safe, supportive environment.
Module 5: "TIPS"
- The topic of privilege and the Privilege Walk Activity can raise strong emotions; therefore it is important for the trainer to be aware of any lingering resentments or problems that were not resolved in module four. Trainers should be cautious about going ahead with the Privilege Walk Activity if participants are feeling unsafe or unsupported; it is important to spend time working through feelings before engaging in the activity.
- Even in situations where the group is cohesive, trusting and supportive of one another, the Privilege Walk Activity can elicit strong emotions within individual participants. The Privilege Walk statements may bring up unpleasant memories or remind a participant of an injustice or abuse experienced in his/her life. Trainers should be prepared to handle sadness, anger and other emotions as they process the activity.
Module 6: "TIPS"
- When recruiting volunteers for the "Fish Bowl Activity", participants may be reluctant to "role play" as they are afraid to make a mistake or embarrass themselves. Thus trainers can minimize the risk by explaining there is no right or wrong way to portray the individual. The role of social worker requires the most involvement and some knowledge of group processes so try to recruit someone who is a "risk taker" and knowledgeable for that position. Encourage participants to draw on behaviors they have witnessed in their clients for authenticity in the role they are playing.
- When the participants in the role play have left the room to get their instructions from one trainer, the other trainer should engage the rest of the participants by explaining their roles as observers. The trainer tells the observers that each role player knows only who the person is that he/she represents, but not what is written on his/her name tag about how others are to respond to him/her. Share what is written on the name tags and ask observers to notice if other role play participants are reacting to that person in the manner directed and to think about how their response influences his/her participation in the discussion. Being in on the "secret" helps to engage observers and enhances the discussion at the end of the role play.
© 2009 University at Albany, School of Social Welfare